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Since the morality of a human act consists in its agreement or non-agreement with right reason and the eternal law, an act is good or evil in the moral order according as it involves this agreement or non-agreement. God, the first cause of all reality, is the cause of the physical act as such, the free-will of the deformity (St. The evil act adequately considered has for its cause the free-will defectively electing some mutable good in place of the eternal good, God, and thus deviating from its true last end.
The pleasure taken in a sinful thought ( delectatio, gaudium ) is, generally speaking, a sin of the same kind and gravity as the action which is thought of. The definition of sin may be verified in other sins in a certain sense" (St. Original sin is voluntary not by a personal voluntary act of ours, but by an act of the will of Adam. (See GOOD.) Evil implies a deficiency in perfection, hence it cannot exist in God who is essentially and by nature good; it is found only in finite beings which, because of their origin from nothing, are subject to the privation of form or order or measure due them, and, through the opposition they encounter, are liable to an increase or decrease of the perfection they have: "for evil, in a large sense, may be described as the sum of opposition, which experience shows to exist in the universe, to the desires and needs of individuals ; whence arises, among human beings at least, the suffering in which life abounds" (see EVIL). When it has its due proportion of form and order and measure it is, in its own order and degree, good.This last named division is indeed the most important of all and it calls for special treatment.But before taking up the details, it will be useful to indicate some further distinctions which occur in theology or in general usage.